While it is tough to find fitting substitutes for such extraordinary players, Lankan think-tank might be happy to see the way Suraj Randiv shaped over the last one month.
The young off-spinner, who made his international debut in Nagpur, was impressive during the recent one-day series against India, containing the explosive Indian batsmen on flat pitches.
“I have been a net bowler for the national team for a while now and it is a great feeling to make it into the final XI. But I approached even my debut game as a club game and believed in sticking to my strengths. Getting Dhoni out in that match was special as I had planned it,” Randiv said during a chat.
The keen eyes of two former Lankan skippers -- Mahela Jayawardene and Marvan Atapattu -- too have played a huge part in highlighting Randiv’s talent. “I picked up a lot of wickets in Matara. Impressed by my effort, Mahela and Marvan brought me to Sinhalese Sports Club where I played first-class cricket for two years,” the 24-year old, who turned to cricket after watching his younger brother playing the game and who idolized Pak’s Saqlain Mushtaq, said.
“When I started bowling off-spin, I idolizied Saqlain Mushtaq who used to have amazing control over his off-spin,” he said.
Randiv also talks of his Matara-mate Jayasuriya. “It was great bumping into him in the dressing-room before my debut. He keeps talking to me all the time,” he said.
Randiv does not bamboozle batsmen with bags of tricks like Muralitharan, he just concentrates on a tidy line. The importance of line and length might have been inculcated in him from early days as Randiv started his career as a medium pace bowler. “I used to be a pace bowler and it was only because of our main spinner’s absence that I started bowling spin.”
As an off-spinner, comparison, however unfair that may be, with Muralitharan is bound to come at some stage.
“Murali Aiyya is a legend and nobody can be like him. He gives us youngsters everything he has got but I will try to do things my way,” he remarked.
DH News Service